Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/288

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256
[CANTO II.
THE CORSAIR.


No craven he—and yet he dreads the blow,
So much Confusion magnifies his foe!
His blazing galleys still distract his sight,
He tore his beard, and foaming fled the fight;[1]
For now the pirates passed the Haram gate,
And burst within—and it were death to wait;
Where wild Amazement shrieking—kneeling—throws
The sword aside—in vain—the blood o'erflows! 791
The Corsairs pouring, haste to where within
Invited Conrad's bugle, and the din
Of groaning victims, and wild cries for life,
Proclaimed how well he did the work of strife.
They shout to find him grim and lonely there,
A glutted tiger mangling in his lair!
But short their greeting, shorter his reply—
"'Tis well—but Seyd escapes—and he must die—
Much hath been done—but more remains to do— 800
Their galleys blaze—why not their city too?"


V.

Quick at the word they seized him each a torch,
And fire the dome from minaret to porch.
A stern delight was fixed in Conrad's eye,
But sudden sunk—for on his ear the cry
Of women struck, and like a deadly knell
Knocked at that heart unmoved by Battle's yell.
"Oh! burst the Haram—wrong not on your lives
One female form—remember—we have wives.
On them such outrage Vengeance will repay; 810

  1. A common and not very novel effect of Mussulman anger. See Prince Eugene's Mémoires, 1811, p. 6, "The Seraskier received a wound in the thigh; he plucked up his beard by the roots, because he was obliged to quit the field." ["Le séraskier est blessé a la cuisse; il s'arrache la barbe, parce qu'il est obligé de fuir." A contemporary translation (Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1811), renders "il s'arrache la barbe" he tore out the arrow.]